DENVER (CBS4) – Major thunderstorms packed with lightning and heavy rain forced Denver International Airport officials to announce a full ground stop.

There are no arriving or departing flights from the airport as the storm sweeps through the metro area.

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Officials say they are seeing intense lightning and rain. Sheets of rain drenched the Montbello neighborhood.

Littleton firefighters helped save two people who were stranded in their vehicles.

The storms also brought flash flooding and small hail for El Paso County.

County emergency officials say the west Highway 24 corridor also saw flash flooding. Colorado State Patrol has since closed Hwy 24 between Green Mountain Falls and Cave of the Winds in both directions.

Manitou Springs residents are now told to evacuate to higher ground. An evacuation center is set up at the Community Congregational Church on Pawnee Avenue.

Officials in Teller County warned drivers to stay off roads because of rushing water.

Hours after the first round of storms, parts of Colorado were hit again with more rain and hail.

(credit: Michael Garlinsky)

(credit: Michael Garlinsky)

A swath of rain and strong wind whipped through downtown Denver just after 8 p.m.

Judy Cavagnetto caught jaw-dropping images from her home in Hartsel of a tornado. Weather expert confirm a brief touchdown about four miles west/northwest of the town on open land. They say there are no reports of injuries or damage.

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(credit: Judy Cavagnetto)

(credit: Judy Cavagnetto)

Hartsel is about 65 miles west of Colorado Springs.