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On Monday January 7, the temperature rose steadily all day, to hit 15 celsius at 10 pm. There were also periods of drizzle. But there was no sun, and even if the sun had come out, it wouldn't have made a difference -- the angle of the sun is so low at this time of year (see ice and sun) that the ice condition would be perfectly good for skating.
When it's wet under these circumstances, zambonies can take off the water, leaving solid ice. This is what happens when the water is removed:
The ice was excellent despite 15 celsius because the rinks are compressor-cooled and don't rely on freezing temperatures. However, if the water is not removed, it's no fun skating, so people stay away.
That's what happened at Ramsden Rink:
Why was the water not removed at most city outdoor rinks on January 7? The rink maintenance staff were on duty and being paid -- what were they doing?