When I lived with my parents, I could always distinguish the sound of fireworks from the sound of thunder. The timing of the booms was very different. I seem to have lost this ability. I was pretty sure that thunder was always further apart. At the end of a fireworks display, there is typically a lot of rapid explosions. Thunder was never like this. It’s usually much further apart in time, on the order of minutes, during most of the storm. The culmination could be much closer, but typically no more than two or three per second.
This has somehow changed. Thunder can happen several dozen times per second now. I’m not sure if it’s a geographical, climactic, or psychological change. I previously lived in downtown Manhattan. The proximity to the East River and The World Trade Center could have had an effect on the frequency of lightning strikes in the area. Now I am living further from water and tall buildings. I also seldom see fireworks displays now. They had been very frequent where I lived when I was younger.