John Raby and Dave Morrison

ANSTED, W.Va.: As West Virginians continued surveying damage in a state so devastated by floods that one said her community “smelled like death,” residents braced for the prospect of more rain.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for 22 West Virginia counties on Monday. Heavy rains were possible in many areas already ravaged by last week’s floods that have killed 24 people statewide.

The forecast didn’t include hardest-hit Greenbrier County, where 16 people have died and floodwaters have yet to recede.

Dozens of residents of flooded-out Rainelle remained Sunday at a shelter more than 25 miles away at the Ansted Baptist Church, where singing from inside mixed with the bustle of activity outside.

The church’s gymnasium has been converted to a shelter. The church also is a drop-off point for donated goods as well as a makeshift kennel for dog owners.

For now, it’s home for Jerry Reynolds, his wife, Janice, and his brother, Marcus Reynolds.

Janice Reynolds said she drove back to Rainelle on Saturday to survey the damage. She said her home was destroyed, a vehicle was lost in the floodwaters and the community “smelled like death.”

Jerry Reynolds says the flood was “the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” But as he sat in his car at the shelter, he declared that “we’re survivors. We’ll make it.”

Marcus Reynolds even found a bit of humor amid the sorrow.

“While we’re at it, would you be interested in any oceanfront property?” he said. “I understand there’s some available.”

Bill Kious of Rainelle was asked how those at the shelter, many of them on modest incomes, were able to laugh.

“Frankly, because we’ve lived a rough lifestyle,” Kious said. “It’s a nature to us that we can’t get rid of.”

Rick Lewis of the Nuttall Fire Department said 129 people were staying Sunday at the church gymnasium. Many more Rainelle residents were sent to other shelters, he said.

Authorities have yet to start sizing up the flood damage in West Virginia. But it is drawing comparisons to November 1985 floods that remain the state’s most expensive natural disaster with more than $570 million in damage.

Federal money will be part of the rebuilding equation. Sunday marks the first day people can apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid in the three worst-hit counties of Greenbrier, Kanawha and Nicholas.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration still believes there are people missing in Greenbrier County, chief of staff Chris Stadelman said.

Flooding at The Greenbrier resort prompted the PGA Tour to cancel a tournament there next week.

About 18,000 homes and businesses remained without power Sunday. Water is still not running in the Clendenin area, and residents are filling up jugs of water at stations provided by West Virginia American Water.