Man behind amazing Ala. tornado video speaks

An employee at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa was able to catch some amazing video Wednesday of a tornado that ripped through the city.

Christopher England said on "The Early Show" Thursday he shot the video at one of the safest places at the sahool -- Coleman Coliseum, the men's basketball complex.

Deep South ravaged by storms; at least 178 dead
Pictures: Southern storms

He explained, "The bottom two levels (of the building) are on ground-level or below ground-level, and it just so happened that my office is in Coleman Coliseum, and we're all in there, and the power went out. So we had no clue what was going on. So my boss and I went up to the third floor, and we actually ran up the stairs to the third floor to kind of look out the windows to see, you know, what we could see, and as soon as we looked out of the window, we saw what you see there in the video, and it was just, I mean, it was just amazing. I mean, we just couldn't believe what we were seeing."

How to help tornado victims in the South

"Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge asked if England had zoomed in on the tornado or was actually as close as the footage appears.

England said, "Actually, I was zoomed out to try to get the whole tornado, and I still couldn't catch it, the whole thing. I mean, we were probably maybe 200 to 300 yards away from it."

He continued, "When we first saw it, we really didn't know the direction that the tornado was going to go. We didn't know if it was going to come toward us or away from us or what. But it kind of started on the southeast section of campus, where I saw it, and kind of moved east. (Then) I felt the pressure up there, and I kind of felt like the glass was, you know, having some pressure on it, and I realized it was probably time to go, and that's when I left."

England said he could see the tornado snapping power lines and "sucking up" items on the ground.

England appeared on "The Early Show" from an area he filmed that's now devastated.

He said, "It's kind of surreal to be down here now and kind of seeing it, because this is the first time I've seen it."

While filming, England said he heard the faint howl of the tornado from behind the glass. He said he took footage for about a minute and a half before he fled to safety.