NBCNEWS: Michael Welch was midshift into his job at KFC in Newcastle, Okla., on Monday afternoon when he noticed hail pounding the parking lot outside the restaurant.
Then, as he looked into the distance, he saw the wall cloud of an enormous tornado rotating in front of him.
"It was very large and very fast," he said. "I could see debris flying all over."
The 24-year-old cook grabbed his HTC cell phone and dashed into the parking lot and started recording video. "Probably not the best thing to do, but I did it."
Most of his coworkers took shelter, but his manager stayed at the door while he filmed, Welch said.
"Oh, my God!" he screams on his video -- seen by thousands on NBC News and YouTube -- as the tornado, which killed at least 24 people and injured scores more in the area, passes.
He said an F4 tornado that hit his house in Blanchard on May 24, 2011, helped alleviate his fear.
"I think that gave me the courage to go ahead and go outside," he said. "The power of the funnel cloud was amazing."
He said he had no idea a storm was coming until he saw it with his own eyes.
But now, his YouTube video showing a street-level view of the massive tornado plowing through Newcastle and Moore stands as an iconic record of the day's event.
"I've talked to so many people today I can't even count ," he said.