Development of droughts occurring in the winter season has not been widely studied before, although impacts on water resources can be extensive. Our objective is to increase understanding of the development of winter droughts in snow-affected regions by studying droughts in two catchments in Europe (Narsjø in Norway and Nedožery in Slovakia) using a conceptual rainfall-runoff model and the variable threshold level method. In these catchments, two types of winter droughts dominate, classified as: Type 1 winter droughts in cold climates, caused by late summer droughts that continue into winter, and Type 2 winter droughts in milder climates, which develop when snow cover disappears and precipitation is lower than normal. Both drought types have large deficits over a long period of time, but Type 1 droughts are relieved by the snow melt flood, while Type 2 winter droughts can continue into summer. Due to global warming, the occurrence of Type 2 winter droughts might increase in the future.