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Flooding of Mississippi River Causes Water Damage! Simple Steps to Prevent Damage.

Posted · 23 Comments


Recently the Mississippi River rose at incredible amounts rushing over the streets of downtown Memphis. These floods were near record-breaking levels almost reaching the Gulf of Mexico. Due to large amounts of rainfall and snow melt starting in Canada flooding has reached as far south as Tennessee and Arkansas. Its is soon to be expected to reach the mouth of the Mississippi River with the highest water levels of 48 feet since 1937, according to the National Weather Service.

Whether you are located near a large river such as the Mississippi River or not you may be in danger of damaged property due to flooding. More people are hurt or have damaged property because of floods than any other natural disaster according to FEMA. We all own things that are dear to us such as, photographs, paintings, family documents, and certificates that can be damaged during a flood. Besides water damage most of these items can fall victim to the growth of mold due to the damp or humid environment caused by flooding.

Here are three things you should try to do immediately after a flood:

1. Remove items from wet or damp area.

2. Dry wet items using circulating air with a fan…but…

3. DO NOT turn on the heat! Heat will accelerate the mold growth.

To prevent damaged valuables there are a few things that you can do. The first thing to do would be to make copies of any documents, photos or even videos and keep them in a safe place such as another city! Second, store all of your items in protective boxes such as those archival boxes you can purchase at any art supply store. Lastly having a plan for removing valuables after a disaster would be helpful.

Obviously handling a wet guilt is different than handling a painting. So try and be aware of how to be careful with each item. For instance, the painting in the photo is flaking badly from the shrinking of the canvas- be careful not to knock the paint off! It can be restored NO MATTER HOW BAD IT LOOKS!

But one thing people often do not think about is that when the plaster frame gets wet, the plaster design can come off the frame in your hands. Air-dry it immediately. Busted up antique frames can also be restored to look perfect again.

If a disaster hasn’t happened to you yet, you have time to prepare before a disaster occurs.  For more tips and instructions, check out what’s on www.saveyourstuff/ and There’s lots of free stuff to download.

Questions about conservation/restoration? Call us toll free at 888-704-7757

Questions about preparing your stuff for an earthquake or hurricane? Click on “Products” at the top of the page.

Questions about art and antique appraisals? Call Richard at (805) 895-5121

Questions about working with an insurance claim? Call us toll free at 888-704-7757

Also see:

What can you do at home or at the office to protect and save your artwork and collectibles from damage in an earthquake or hurricane?

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23 Responses to "Flooding of Mississippi River Causes Water Damage! Simple Steps to Prevent Damage."
  1. Kathy Madison says:

    This was such a nice post with great info!!! You already know, but I’ll say it to your readers, a company like ours that does water damage repairs doesn’t… or shouldn’t touch/repair artwork and collectibles, like what you talk about. For those kinds of items a person needs a specialist. Your information is right “on the money” and thanks for getting this hard to find info out to the public. I will visit again for updates.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks Kate for your comments. I’ve left your link for people to go to your website. And thanks for letting people know that your kind of company works on the flooring and furnishings and that a person needs specialized help when dealing with water damage on antiques, artwork and collectibles.

  2. Kate Hudson says:

    We are in the water damage business and I’d like to tell everyone that if people would take Scott’s advice there would be many many problems avoided. reading his book is a great help for anyone, and its easy to read and understand.

  3. Also it is very important to get an insurance policy that has a water damage restoration rider. Water damage is something that people can’t prevent. However, something that we can control is getting the right insurance policy. Many companies don’t offer this as an option even though it is FREE. This is because agents are compensated higher when they are not offering this rider and many others. Just wanted to point that out.

  4. Mark Cooper says:

    For safety point of view, it is best to switch off all electrical appliances at damages site. Flooded electrical device should be later checked by an electrician for faults as operating a water damaged machine can lead to you getting an electric shock, which can be fatal.

  5. Very informative tips, but how can we prevent this kind of disaster if the mother nature will be the one who takes our lives? Anyway these are helpful tips for people who are aware of floods. Thanks for sharing this information.

  6. Sammie Pollock says:

    Recently one of my favorite paintings got damaged by water. I was so worried. I thought it was gone and could not be recovered. But after reading your article, I’m feeling better and hopeful because now I know that is is possible with the help of professionals like you. Thanks for the sharing a awesome article with us.

  7. Ramona Saavedra says:

    Very important points you’ve given of the three things that we should try to do immediately after a flood. Everyone should be aware of these points. I know by sad experience. Thanks.

  8. Andy Gonzos says:

    I’ve never had to deal with a flood before as I live on top of a hill. However should I encounter one in the future I’ll definitely follow these steps! Thanks!

  9. James Brown says:

    Very useful piece of advice about water damage… and mold on artwork.

  10. Madaline Seeley says:

    You’ve got very awesome tips here. I really like the theme of the website and how well you organized the content. It’s a marvelous job I will come back and thanks for the professional water damage info. from an art conservation point of view.

  11. Great advice! I wouldn’t have ever thought about some of this! It’s good to know there are good restoration companies out there. You’re also right to say that preparation is the best way to avoid this, looking into it ahead of time saves so much headache down the road.

  12. Jason Main says:

    Very useful piece of advice about water damage… and mold on artwork.

  13. Your book is really helpful and informative for water damage. Your tips resolved my problems of damaging many things from water.

  14. Gary Stein says:

    I like your tip about not turning the heat on. It’s interesting how heat evaporates water faster, but also causes mold problems at the same time. Fans must be the optimum solution.

  15. Jarvis Pool says:

    Never knew that heat can grow mold so fast. We usually heat up some things (especially food) to dry them quick. Now I wouldn’t do that again.

  16. Woody Clark says:

    Yes, mold and mildew can grow fast… a few hours. Places that retain moisture and heat too long can start to smell very quickly. Very useful information and advice for saving treasured collectibles etc.

  17. andie says:

    With a little care, artwork can be protected and I appreciate the tips in this article.

  18. James Brian says:

    I’m involved with water damage and mold right now and I’d love to say if people would certainly listen to Scott’s guidance there can be numerous numerous problems averted. The book is a superb guide for anybody.

  19. Geno Waldren says:

    Thanks for your insights and expertise on water damage etc. Its a real mess to get into and your tips are a God send. Thanks

  20. Frank Covert says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips. I use to prefer warm air for drying water leaks or damages, but I never really thought heating the air can do more harm by accelerating the growth of molds. I guess now I’m wiser.

    • Scott says:

      The important thing is to protect the artwork from handling while they are wet and moldy. Let the item dry out as much as possible and them get professional art conservation advice…. its often given at no charge.

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