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High tide

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A midsummer downpour that left many of Chicago's streets and basements underwater forced Young & Rubicam employees to strip down to their bare essentials last week.

Intrepid employees who braved the high waters to get to work were forced to take off their sodden clothes once at the office, making the wealth of freebies and promotional items from clients more welcome than usual.

"People were walking around with Sears' home repair T-shirts with a tag that said 'Hi my name is Al,'" an agency representative said.

Others took off their soaked pants and hung them on boards to dry and wrapped beach towels emblazoned with the agency logo round their waist.

By the end of the day staffers' normal attire was dry and they were able to get home without attracting undue attention.

Four inches of rain fell on Chicago in one hour, causing flooding and numerous travel delays. Expressways were shut down, and public transportation was operating at a snail's pace or not at all.