This paper discusses gas-dynamic aspects of intense explosions in uniform environments. In experiments, the energy of a laser is almost instantaneously released in a volume of air shaped as either a flattened or stretched cylinder generating a blast wave. Its shape evolves in time and ultimately becomes spherical. But momentum transferred to the air when the blast wave is strongly nonspherical is anisotropic. As a result, a subsonic jet and a vortex are induced and propagate along the symmetry axis or along the perpendicular plane, depending on the initial configuration of the blast wave. Simulations based on a free-Lagrangian method for a nonviscous gas are in good agreement with the experiments. Velocities, circulation, and positions of fluid particles found in computations give an insight into the causes and details of the flow. Two simultaneous and contrary processes take place - vorticity production by the anisotropic shock wave and baroclinical generation of vorticity at the boundary of the heated gas - which give rise to net circulation.