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Hot water heater insulation soaked.

I have a gas water heater in my basement. Recently my basement got flooded just to the pilot light. I cleared the water and took care of any other issues. I am now onto the water heater. I lit the pilot light no problem but when I turned up the thermostat the thing started steaming, it did build up condensation but the insulation is still very wet. The tank also started creaking a bit after a moment. Should I leave it on a bit below warm to level out and evaporate the moisture, or is that a bad idea. I want to assume the creaking was caused by the temp difference between the wet insulation and the internal temperture. But I could very well be wrong. The thing never had this issue before the basement flooded, could it just be because the water inside was stone cold. Any advice would be greatly appreciated since I'm now afraid to turn it on.

Re: Hot water heater insulation soaked.

Any and all advice welcome.

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