LEWISTON, Maine — Even though summer still has a strong hold on many of us, thoughts about winter (and utility costs) are never that far from most self-service laundry operators.After record snowfall in the mid-Atlantic and unusually cold weather down South, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a “kinder and gentler” winter, especially in the areas that had a rough winter last year. If you’re a believer in this annual forecast, don’t forget that it is still all about location, location, location.If your store is located in the eastern third of the country (New England down to Florida and as far west as the Mississippi River), winter temperatures should be much colder than normal — but generally not as brutal as last winter. New Englanders should expect colder weather compared to last year’s mild winter.Across the Western states (Pacific Coast to the Rockies), a “milder-than-normal” winter is expected. The Midwest and central states should expect normal winter temperatures. However, if your store is located in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes, keep the shovels handy. That region is expected to get the snowfall that will be lacking elsewhere.How accurate is this forecast? The Farmer’s Almanac, which claims 80 to 85% accuracy, says it correctly forecast heavy snow in the mid-Atlantic region last winter.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center anticipates a warmer-than-normal winter for the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, and colder-than-normal weather in the Northwest.These two “forecasters” disagree about the upcoming winter. For example, the almanac calls for mild temperatures in the Northwest and cold in the Southeast.If you’re looking for more winter forecasts, the New Hampshire-based Old Farmer’s Almanac is scheduled for release next week. Cheer up, if all else fails, you can always poke your head out of your laundry and see what winter has planned for you.